Is Fergie time over for United?

As we wave goodbye to one of the most successful managers in British football it’s also a time to focus on the ways that he has changed the football lexicon, whether it be through terms he coined himself (squeaky bum time) or phrases that were used about him (the hairdryer treatment). Probably the most statistically interesting is “Fergie time” the idea that Alex Ferguson through sheer force of personality gets more added time than other managers would when Man United are down.

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A match of two legs?

It feels like it’s been a long two months without European football. With the Spanish, English and German title competitions looking pretty much wrapped up at the moment and a disappointing Africa Cup of Nations, it’s exciting to welcome back the Champions league and Europa league.  So after the first round of of first legs for the Champions league and the first legs of the Europa league we wanted to see how things stood.

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Value for Money

As yet another transfer window closes with an estimated £490m spent on transfer fees it felt appropriate to check who we think was a good buy. The rankings stated here are based upon the players’ Castrol Edge Ranking at the end of the season 2011-2012. The analysis here only covers transfers between the top five leagues (Premier League, Ligue 1, Serie A, La Liga and the Bundesliga).

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Some Graphic Illustration of This Season’s Premier League

This season’s Premier League has not let us down. With most teams having just four league games left, there is still all to play for at top of the table for the Manchester teams. At the other end of the table four teams are battling it out to stay in the top division and of course, there is also race for the fourth Champions League spot. I was interested in seeing how each team has featured in those battles. Drawing charts is usually the best way… Continue reading

Masters of Unpredictability

When I was watching BBC’s Match of the Day 2 on Sunday evening, the programme host mentioned how unpredictable Aston Villa’s league form has been lately. He pointed out that their last 7 league game results (before last Sunday) were: loss-draw-win-loss-draw- win-draw. It seems indeed a little random in a sense that the team hasn’t achieved back to back wins or draws or losses. After last Sunday’s game, a 2:1 loss to Newcastle, adding to the sequence, the hypothesis still holds.

But are they really being unpredictable? Continue reading

Do Teams Collapse after a Bad Defeat?

Ouch, 1:6. Clearly it was not a good weekend for Man Utd fans, especially as no one saw it coming. As an Arsenal fan, I could argue that the 8:2 result wasn’t so bad as Man Utd were flying high and Arsenal were in turbulent times. But it was a lie. It hurt just as bad. After the match, Wenger jumped forward to offer his sympathy for Sir Alex. I doubt Sir Alex cares. The defeat gives City now a 30% chance to win the title, with Man Utd having 27%. 5 points from the top of the table and with more than 3 quarters of league still to go, he and Man Utd fans will be anxious to see just how the team will respond to that result.

So do teams start to underperform after a shocking defeat? I decided to take a look.

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On the Uselessness of Draws

How many times does a manager or a player claim “a draw was a good result?” Whether this is justifying the result after the fact (i.e. if you’ve been 3-0 down a draw is certainly a good result), or whether the team went out to play for a draw, I decided to see how often a draw really was a good result given the pre-match predictions.

Who’s Happy With a Draw?

A draw is better than a loss and the one league point it brings is some comfort to fans, but more often it is two points lost rather than one point gained. Consider a match between evenly matched sides. In that case the home team has about a 50% chance of victory, and the away team about a 25% chance. Continue reading

What if the Champions League Really Was a League?

With the second week of fixtures in the Group Stages of the Champions League about to begin, we thought it would be interesting to look at how the structure of the competition affects the percentage chance each team has of winning the competition. What if the Champions League really was an, admittedly large, league of 32 teams?

Is the current format, including draws which are seeded and which force teams from the same nation to avoid each other until the Quarter-Finals a disadvantage for the smaller teams? Is this disadvantage more than offset by the nature of a knock-out competition allowing lesser teams to progress off the back of a couple of lucky performances?

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Should Arsenal Worry About Conversion?

11/12 Goal Conversion ByClub After 4 MatchesArsenal have scored only three goals this season. Should they be worried about their inability to convert shots into goals?

Arsenal fan @Orbinho – mentor to @OptaJoe – tweeted that Man Utd have scored with 30% of their shots last season while Arsenal have only managed to score with 7% of theirs. The chart shows that they rank equal 14th, alongside West Brom and Norwich, in terms of shot conversion this season.

Last season Arsenal ranked fourth with a shot-to-goal conversion rate of 14%. Man Utd topped the conversion charts with 16.4% of their shots finding the back of the net.

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